Live Banned, a comedy Rock band from Bengaluru, was amongst the impressive assemblage of music entertainers at the recent event, Chasing Storm, in Coorg. Formed in the autumn of 2010, Live Banned has been making news for its music that is marked by intelligent humour, as is evident in their latest album, If You Park Here Your Tyre Will Be Air Out, released in 2014. They have satirised and restructured popular songs across genres and languages.
Speaking about the music they create, Amrit Rao, the vocalist of the band, conveys, “The first description of our music is awesome and it can also be categorised as Indo-international mass music. There’s social commentary, comedy, satire, parody and a sound that brings the class and mass together.”
The band’s music has an appeal across populations. There is something for everyone — from the corporate sector to those living with everyday middle class struggles. Their ‘The Auto Tune’, a popular track in English-Kannada, for instance, is a brilliant take on how the common man wrestles with the auto driver, the ‘khaki-wearing local fellows’, and how ‘wherever you want to go, you can’t afford an auto’, and how it is better to ‘buy yourself a car… or you buy an auto’!
Live Banned comprises Amrit Rao (vocals), Sridhar Varadarajan (guitars), Siddhart Kamath (keyboard), Dheerendra Doss (drums) and Raveesh Tirkey (bass). Reminiscing about how the band got together, Amrit reflects, “Dheeru and I decided to do something different and out of the box. Something that entertained us and the audiences as well. We started jamming with the then guitarist, Dhruv, and finally found people who were receptive to the idea. The basic concept behind the band is entertainment and to make people laugh.”
The performances of the band have been bold and energetic; and influences have come from South Indian music, Bollywood, disco, pop, rock and metal. “Each one of us comes from a different background of music,” Amrit says. “I listen to everything, but am predominantly influenced by Progressive metal, Carnatic classical, Ilayaraja and A R Rahman. Dheeru, the drummer, loves classic Rock and EDM. Siddhart, who plays almost everything, is a heavy metal boy. Sridhar, the guitarist, loves the blues, and Raveesh, our bass player, likes a bit of everything.”
Signing off, Amrit says, “We love every composition we have created. I think the most popular ones are ‘The Auto Tune’, ‘Roads Bloody Roads’, ‘Hey Mama’ and ‘Death Dance’. And having started the New Year by chasing the storm, we hope that the storm gets bigger. We plan to play more gigs this year; more than what we did in 2014, and explore new territories like north and east India. Hopefully, even go international this year.”